Stop sharing the 'I'm in a mental hospital' Facebook post. It's not funny—it's harmful
Volkan Olmez/Unsplash

People love Facebook posts that invite them to create silly lists of their friends and family members, and most of the time, it's all in good fun. But a "mental hospital" post that keeps circulating is nowhere near good fun, and it needs to go away, now.


The post begins, "This is Hilarious!" before telling people to follow the directions to fill the following list with Facebook friends' names:

"I'm in a mental hospital

My roommate:

Licks the glass:

Helps me escape:

My psychiatrist:

Asleep in the corner:

Shouts at everyone:

Padded room occupant:

Kicks the nurse:

Believes they are a unicorn:

Sneaks in the alcohol:

The end of the version I saw read, "That was fun!" and "Sometimes you need some mindless humor!"

This post is mindless, but it definitely shouldn't be considered humor.

For anyone who struggles with mental illness or who has loved ones who do, this post is hurtful, not humorous. It portrays problematic ideas about people who are mentally ill and makes light of a serious issue that millions of people face. Being in a mental hospital isn't a joke or something to make light of—it may actually be a life-saving move for some people. Posts like this just reinforce harmful stigmas about mental illness that keep people from getting seeking the treatment they need.

RELATED: A huge thanks to those who openly share their mental illnesses. You saved my daughter.

Jen Simon, a writer who has written extensively about mental health issues, shared the screenshot of the post on Facebook with names crossed out. "This is not hilarious," she wrote. Simon lost her sister to chronic depression in 2018, after a years-long battle with mental health ended in suicide.

If you don't see how the Facebook post is distasteful on its face, look at it through the eyes of someone who has lost a loved one to mental illness. So painful. But when Simon raised her concerns with the post, she was admonished by the woman who had shared it. She was "told not to take it personally," because she hadn't even been tagged in it.

"It made me think of the scene in You've Got Mail," says Simon, "when Tom Hanks said, 'It's not personal,' and Meg Ryan replies, 'It's not personal to YOU—it is to me.' The rest of my life will be defined by the shadow of mental illness and suicide. Regardless of the author's intent, for those of us who suffer or watch our loved ones suffer, it sure as hell feels personal."

Kimberly Zapata, founder of Greater Than Illness, a non-profit organization that aims to empower children and youth struggling with mental illness, found the post infuriating. She says that instead of making jokes about mental illness, we should be talking about how we can improve mental health.

"The problem with remarks and 'jokes' like this is not only that they perpetuate negative—and in many cases, untrue—stereotypes. It is that these stereotypes often keep people from getting help," says Zapata. "For example, no one wants to be seen as the 'crazy' person screaming and mumbling incoherent obscenities in the corner."

"What's more," she adds, "these stereotypes convince people that mental illness has a 'look,' and if one does not fit into the so-called mold, they are not really sick — and that is just as dangerous, as many ignore or disregard their symptoms because they are not 'that bad.'"

RELATED: States are starting to require mental health classes for all students. It's about dang time.

We have come pretty far in reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness, and posts like this send us backwards. When we know better, we do better—and we need to do better than share things that cause harm because we don't see the problem and think it's "all in good fun."

There are times and places for finding humor in mental health struggles, such as when people with anxiety or OCD joke and laugh together over their shared experiences. But such humor should take place within a supportive community, not come from outside in a way that pokes fun or dismisses or pushes stereotypes. That kind of joking spreads harm to people who are already dealing with enough, which is why we need to stop circulating these kinds of posts immediately.

via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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Public Domain

A very simple thing happened earlier this week. Dr. Seuss Enterprises—the company that runs the Dr. Seuss estate and holds the legal rights to his works—announced it will no longer publish six Dr. Seuss children's books because they contain depictions of people that are "hurtful and wrong" (their words). The titles that will no longer be published are And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat's Quizzer.

This simple action prompted a great deal of debate, along with a great deal of disinformation, as people reacted to the story. (Or in many cases, just the headline. It's a thing.)

My article about the announcement (which contains examples of the problematic content that prompted the announcement) led to nearly 3,000 comments on Upworthy's Facebook page. Since many similar comments were made repeatedly, I wanted to address the most common sentiments and questions:

How do we learn from history if we keep erasing it?

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